One day back in September of 1994, when I was divorced and living in an apartment in Mount Pearl around the corner from my sister, she called me on the phone. Being a weekday and her husband’s birthday, she invited me over for a low-key evening, with our brother joining us to make a foursome for a game of Scrabble. Yay! Scrabble was one of my favourite games, so I quickly agreed.
But she called back later with news. “It looks like we won’t be having that game of Scrabble tonight after all,” she said. Our brother had called her to say he was bringing his friend Paul along, and five was too many for Scrabble, so we had to scrap that plan.
“Damn!” I fumed to my sister. “I was so looking forward to a game! Who is this Paul person, anyway, and why does he have to come over and spoil our fun?” She told me she, her husband and our brother had known Paul for years, and we would have to plan a game for another time.
I swallowed my disappointment and agreed to join them anyway to hang out. We had drinks to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday, and we watched the guys play video games for a while. When my sister introduced me to Paul, she told me he was an artist and he loved cats, and had one of his own. Something in common! 🙂
I know this sounds far from exciting, but when we chatted, I became intrigued with “the new guy”. It wasn’t love at first sight exactly, but for some reason – chemistry, I guess – I fell head over heels in LIKE with Paul. And he seemed to like me too.
When I left to go home, he said, “It was really nice meeting you for the first time, Jennifer.” Walking back around the corner to my apartment, I couldn’t get him out of my mind. Irrationally, I had hoped he might have offered to walk me home, because I thought we connected. But maybe I had read more into it than he did.
As it turned out, he later gave my brother-in-law a piece of paper with his phone number on it to give to me, with instructions to call if I wanted to talk sometime. He knew about my past and my kids, and didn’t want to pressure me if I wasn’t interested. After some hesitation, my brother-in-law gave it to me (he was also concerned it may have been too soon after my messy divorce). Truth be told, at this stage in my life I was not looking for anyone to date, but a new friend would certainly be nice. Especially one as nice as Paul.
I was overjoyed! This being only a few days since our meeting, I raced home and nervously dialed his number. But he was still at work, and I left a message.
He called back. Being the shy person I was, our relationship began with a number of lengthy getting-to-know-you, way-past-our-bedtimes, I’m-going to-be-tired-in-the-morning phone conversations, before we ever started dating. I’ll never forget how jittery I was getting ready for the first date. My sister called while I was doing my makeup, and I filled her in, telling her we were going out to dinner at the Casa Grande. She practically dropped the phone, squealing excitedly to her husband, “They’re going on a date!”
Subsequently, I fell in love with the guy, and we delighted in discovering how compatible we were. Coming upon twenty years since that first meeting, we still are. That “unwelcome guest” who spoiled the Scrabble match became the love of my life.
And wouldn’t you know it? Turns out he loves Scrabble just as much as I do.